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 Post subject: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2022, 21:36 
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Toying with the idea of importing a VCR from Japan. Any caveats to look out for?

Ideally I'd want one that can play PAL and NTSC. Would there be playback speed issues even with a stepdown transformer? Any particularly good SVHS models to look at?

My faithful Sony SVO-1500P died today and I thought I may try and get something juicy from Japan. All the stuff in the UK and EU people want stupid money for utter tat, so it's worth my while looking at a nice, possibly highish end model from Japan.

Apologies this is not exactly DVHS but I thought this the best place to post.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 00:05 
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I’d give up on the PAL/VHS combo thing, especially from Japan, and just get two players. Other than that its probably not a bad idea. PAL/VHS wasn’t a feature anyone in Japan would ever need unless maybe it was a pro deck aimed at public libraries.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 13:58 
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This is the oldest and original piece of gear in my setup, bought new in 1992 for £800 and still running faultlessly to this day (that will probably be the kiss of death now :lol: ) although rarely used tbh, if you can get hold of a nice or refurbished example of this Panasonic NV-FS88 or the next model up FS100 with TBC if that’s important to you? I reckon you’ll have a solid player. Obviously these are PAL only decks although identical NTSC counterparts were available but with different model number.

https://postimg.cc/gallery/fYw84BP
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 14:35 
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Yeah, you need something from the post HQ era with four heads, flying erase head (if editing) and digital time base corrector. The VHS market was massive compared to LD so honestly there are a lot of good decks from people you may not even consider like NEC or Mitsubishi as well as the obvious Sony, JVC, Panasonic etc.

What’s still running…I couldn’t say. :) Panasonic, probably, Sony…hopefully?
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 15:31 
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signofzeta wrote:
Yeah, you need something from the post HQ era with four heads, flying erase head (if editing) and digital time base corrector. The VHS market was massive compared to LD so honestly there are a lot of good decks from people you may not even consider like NEC or Mitsubishi as well as the obvious Sony, JVC, Panasonic etc.

What’s still running…I couldn’t say. :) Panasonic, probably, Sony…hopefully?


You just got me thinking zeta, I always presumed Sony had a rather better reputation with their VCRs rather unlike the situation with LD players bearing their name, was this actually the case?
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 15:45 
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Their VCRs were pretty good. They did break sooner than other players from my recollection but they were often the cutting edge of VHS or nearly that in picture quality. Sony didn’t usually sell bargain basement decks and they went up all the way to pro stuff costing thousands of dollars. Video tape was for sure a main focus of their R&D at this time.

If I was going to do this I would aim for Panasonic or JVC but I haven’t been a regular user of the format for decades so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. All I have now is a JVC combo VHS and DVD recorder that is honestly pretty awesome performance-wise but feels like flimsy cheap garbage. I use it mainly for making quick DVD copies of LDs.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 19:06 
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Yes, I remember back in the day a friends Sony VCR seemed to deliver pretty solid video quality (by vhs standards) and the players physical construction was probably close to a Panasonic equivalent, its funny though how the memory fades especially about a format that that we were all so reliant on 2.5+ decades or so back! Panasonic & JVC would be my 1st choices too if it were me, probably in that order if aesthetics were to come into it.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2022, 22:46 
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Panasonic AG-W1 and W3 are some of the good multi-system VCRs. Samsung made clones of these. I am very positive these were sold in the US. Without looking, I can guess they are still expensive but can be found domestically.

For similar money, you can probably buy a D-VHS deck and a separate PAL deck which would cover more ground. If you go for HM-DH5U or HM-DT100, you get HDMI out which is invaluable in this day and age with modern displays lacking analog inputs. Furthermore, you can route your separate PAL deck to the D-VHS deck to use it as a digitizer/interface to HDMI.

But frankly, given how poor the video quality is for VHS, I would explore much cheaper options. Decks with digital TBC and low noise output should be sufficient. You don’t need a fancy comb filter for VHS as its luma and chroma signals never overlap.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2022, 16:05 
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Sorted a new VHS player. It looks juicy enough and although I found it on ₲₹€€₫₿₳¥, it was priced keen enough and had photos of it working. No TBC etc (that I know of) but it does play PAL and NTSC tapes and has RCA inputs on the front of the deck. It's a later Sony model with about 920,000 heads on it. Just hope it arrives in one piece and working.

I had a look around YAJ etc but even there, prices for VCR's are a little silly. I can't be bothered with it all, or taking the risk on a load of old pony. Prices in New Delaware are ridiculous so the UK worked out best overall. I think the days of a cheapish SVHS deck with TBC etc are long gone. Different story with Laserdisc in my opinion. Importing the R7G was well worth it.

Worst part is having to pay heartbreak tax for something from the UK. Annoying to say the least.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2022, 18:15 
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If I were to spend money on a VCR today I would try to find one of the pro decks I used when I was a volunteer at a public access station in my old home town. They were SVHS, probably JVC, and about 8” thick, probably 25-35 lbs, almost always found in pairs if not trios. They were also in basically everyone’s public access station, UHF channel, public library, church, etc. Unlike LD, VHS was VERY popular in the US and SVHS very popular in budget settings. It seems like there should still be a lot of players on the continent that haven’t been scrapped yet.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2022, 20:42 
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I did strongly consider a high end deck but for what I want to achieve, e.g. get my tapes backed up to my NAS and also play a film or two the old fashioned way occasionally, I don't think it warrants spending a bunch.

It's a bit of a minefield out there too it seems. Prices are crazy and there's the whole reliability issue, truthful sellers and so on. I don't fancy parting with 100's for a lovely high end device only for it to fill it's pants a week after I get it. If a VHS player dies then it's pretty much fit for the scrap heap. I felt like absolute crap throwing my Sony SVO in to the WEEE skip this week. I did try to repair it but it was beyond hope and just had to be junked.

Just need something that will work for a bit, get my stuff done and not give me a Connery when it inevitably pops it's clogs in about a month from now. If I've spent a pittance, happy days, I'll buy another when an SVHS deck owned by a vicar who only used it to record episodes of Song Of Praise on a Sunday night, specifically when Harry Secombe was on it, appears on G₹€€D₿A¥. A bargain at €900 plus shipping. :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2022, 00:09 
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In that case I highly recommend the JVC DR-MV150B, at least for NTSC. The quality is super high and it has HDMI out and DVD recording. It also plays back SVHS if you have any. Maybe you’ll run across one.
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2022, 22:59 
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Got a little SCART to RCA and Svideo adapter today. Popped it in the back of the shiny new VCR and it worked a treat. My little Elgato test capture device (I use this for quick tests) worked perfectly with it.

I was able to play both PAL and NTSC cassettes with no problem. I tried to play my sole SECAM cassette in it and it played a black and white picture but the image was jumping around all over the place along with frequent signal drops.

Those pesky French feckers just have to be difficult don't they!? Bloody SECAM my hole! :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2022, 19:38 
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teddanson wrote:
I did strongly consider a high end deck but for what I want to achieve, e.g. get my tapes backed up to my NAS and also play a film or two the old fashioned way occasionally, I don't think it warrants spending a bunch.

It's a bit of a minefield out there too it seems. Prices are crazy and there's the whole reliability issue, truthful sellers and so on. I don't fancy parting with 100's for a lovely high end device only for it to fill it's pants a week after I get it. If a VHS player dies then it's pretty much fit for the scrap heap. I felt like absolute crap throwing my Sony SVO in to the WEEE skip this week. I did try to repair it but it was beyond hope and just had to be junked.

Just need something that will work for a bit, get my stuff done and not give me a Connery when it inevitably pops it's clogs in about a month from now. If I've spent a pittance, happy days, I'll buy another when an SVHS deck owned by a vicar who only used it to record episodes of Song Of Praise on a Sunday night, specifically when Harry Secombe was on it, appears on G₹€€D₿A¥. A bargain at €900 plus shipping. :thumbup:

Do those pro decks support all playback speeds or are they SP only?
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 Post subject: Re: Importing a VCR from Japan?
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2022, 20:23 
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The juicy ones will do everything, including the dreaded SECAM.

If you mean the SVO models, mine did SP and LP but not EP.
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